wealthy is as wealthy does
Beauty is only skin deep – is it only me that thinks she looks a bit creepy?
humourous French greeting card of a donkey dressed up to look like a lion, c. 1857 – 1870. Unknown artist via State Library Victoria

There’s a proverb of sorts,

Beauty is as Beauty does

And according to Walt Disney (video has sound) at any rate, it means being kind and doing something nice for someone who feels down. Every single day. Because beauty is about what’s on your inside, not the outside.

And you can Google to your heart’s content, and you will find next to nothing that says otherwise.

Though I can’t help wondering if that’s mainly about stopping women getting uppity.

Oddly, (or perhaps not) there isn’t anything similar when it comes to wealth.

Google “wealthy is as wealthy does” and you don’t get a bunch of homilies about what’s on your inside. Instead, you get a bunch of tips about how to get rich, now much money you need to be rich and how the top 1% of rich people have more money than the entire middle class.

Which is a little bit funny, because 95% of the world doesn’t admit to having any classes.

And is also a bit funny because some of the names that spring to mind when you think about rich people, such as Rockefeller, Morgan and Buffet are also some of the best-known philanthropists (people who offer private funding for initiatives that promote the public good).

Some of them, for example, Andrew Carnegie, Johns Hopkins, and Cornelious Vanderbilt left endowments to fund universities and hospitals. And Milton Hershey funded a trade school.

Others, like Joseph Pulitzer, James A. Michener (who won a Pulitzer) and L. Ron Hubbard left money to fund prize schemes recognising artistic and journalistic achievements.

And a bunch, set up or raised funds for causes like muscular dystrophy (Jerry Lewis), the Sherpa people of the Himalayas (Edmund Hillary), the Betty Ford Clinic (Betty Ford), and Titanic survivors (the unsinkable Molly Brown).

More recently, there’s growing evidence that personal programmes of charitable work (whether that’s donating time or money) diverts your attention from your own problems, makes you more grateful for what you have, and makes you feel good about yourself.

And many employers offer giving programmes that help, for example, paid time off when you donate your time or matching your donations.

And you can support others by helping out with a regular commitment, (e.g., an automatic fixed sum monthly child sponsorship). Or a percentage via salary deductions. Or random lump sums when you can (like when you get a tax refund).

So, why not think about setting up your own giving programme. You might not be able to fund a university or hospital (yet), but you can help one run smoothly.


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